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directed by William C. McGann, Michael Curtiz (uncredited)
USA 1939


Crusading reporter Tim Haydon goes behind bars at the infamous prison on New York's Blackwell 's Island, determined to expose a vicious network of corruption and crime. There, he's under the power of a gangland kingpin who runs the prison like his private fiefdom while the weak-willed warden looks the other way. Then the kingpin gets suspicious of the new inmate, and Tim is marked for murder. One year after his breakthrough performance in Four Daughters, john Garfield headlined this hard-hitting crime drama representative of the spare, socially realistic melodramas Warner Bros. turned out in the 19305. The supporting cast includes Rosemary Lane (one of Garfield's Four Daughters costars), Dick Purcell, Victor Jory and Leon Ames.


Theatrical Release: 2 March 1939 (New York City, NY)

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DVD Review: Warner Home Video (Warner Archive Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman for the Review!

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Warner Home Video

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:10:33

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.76 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio Dolby Digital Mono (English)
Subtitles None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Theatrical trailer (1:57)

DVD Release Date: June 10th, 2014
Keep case

Chapters 22



Blackwell's Island is a B picture from Warner Bros filmed right after John Garfield's star turn in Four Daughters, but before the hit film was released. Once Warner saw what they have in their new star, they invited Four Daughters director Michael Curtiz to do some reshoots and elevate the actioner to A picture status. The film also reunited Garfield with one of his Four Daughters co-star Rosemary Lane, although her role in this is very small. Blackwell's Island is loosely based on a raid on the Welfare Island prison in 1934. Stanley Fields steals the film as a big mob boss, a big kid who never grew up, yet menacing enough to control the prison he was sentenced to.
The remastered single-layered made-on-demand disc looks nice, with some marks and a few damaged frames, but contrast is good and mono audio is descent and without any damage. There is a trailer as an extra and film gets 22 chapters. A nice disc for a minor John Garlfield crime drama.

  - Gregory Meshman



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Warner Home Video

Region 0 - NTSC


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